Friday, August 15, 2014

The Blessing of Work, Seriously

Now, despite my venerable age, I wasn't one of those kids who had a paper route and worked at odd jobs when I was very young. I didn't have my first job till I was fifteen, when I went to work in a tiny grocery store for fifty cents an hour. At the time, I didn't think I was learning anything, I just wanted that fifty cents. When I got older, I segued into real grocery store jobs, making real wages, and did that through high school and college, and even returned to it for awhile after I got out of the Army. Of course, I was learning stuff. I learned that you had to get to work on time or lose the job (and the fifty cents). I learned things like making change and keeping track of the various things I had to do without supervision. I also learned how to put up with supervision. I also learned that it was my fifty cents to do with as I wished, not some money somebody had given me, and, because of that, it taught me to be rather more careful with money than I would have been otherwise, because I knew what it was worth. On top of that, it also taught me that I wasn't too good to work.

For a multitude of reasons, that's harder for kids to do now than it was fifty years ago. Laws about such things are more stringent and picayune. There's a general atmosphere prevailing that kids shouldn't work, but should just go to school and learn, learn, learn. Oddly, they learn less than they did when I was in school, despite their liberation from doing useful work. And more and more kids who don't know squat about squat think that scut work is beneath them, somehow. And, of course, a lot of the scut work that used to be available for kids is not snapped up by immigrants, legal and illegal. A kid can't even wander around the neighborhood with a lawn mower trying to make a buck any more, because lawn work is now the domain of those immigrants, and people are afraid to hire a kid that way because of liability and fear that they're violating some child-labor law or another.

It's very unAmerican, or it used to be, by the way, to think you're too good for certain kinds of lowly work. There are still a few tycoons out there who  brag about doing scut work when they were kids. I don't know if following generations will be able to do that or even want to. And, if you listen to Gavin McInnes, it's also unCanadian, largely because they're not yet swamped with cheap foreign labor. Here's Gavin's rant about all this, from Taki Mag:

Spare the Job, Wreck the Child

1 comment:

  1. Even Freud said that everyone needs "love and work."